Israel declares Gaza Strip 'enemy entity'; preparing for military incursion

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Map of the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli government has declared the Gaza Strip an "enemy entity" due to the continued firing of rockets into Israel from Gaza. Gaza's ruling Hamas party has stated that it considers the announcement a "declaration of war."

The definition means that Israel could stop supplying Gaza with fuel, electricity and other commodities.

"Following extensive legal consultations, Israel has decided to declare Gaza as a hostile entity, with all the international implications. This move will prepare the groundwork for sanctions against Gaza, such as the interruption of gas, electricity and water supply, which will occur in a gradual process," said an unnamed Israeli government official.

Ehud Barak, the Israeli Minister of Defense said the "objective is to weaken Hamas" , while Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum suggested "...they aim to starve our people and force them to accept humiliating formulas that could emerge from the so-called November peace conference,"

Barak also said that Israel is considering a military operation in the Gaza Strip saying that "every day that passes brings us closer to an operation in Gaza."

The democratically-elected Hamas party, and its militant wing the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, have been labeled "foreign terrorist organization"s by a number of bodies including the European Union, Israel, the United States, Canada and others.